The European Union has closely followed the trial of Mr. Mikhail Marynich in Minsk District Court. It recalls that in a recent letter to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of
Belarus the then President of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, Mr Bernard Bot, urged the Belarusian authorities to ensure a fair and public trial.
This has not been the case. Mr. Marinich has been sentenced to five years imprisonment, a subsequent three year ban on holding public office and confiscation of property for the alleged illegal misappropriation of computers owned by the US Embassy. The United States has declared that it makes no claim against Mr. Marinich in connection with the computers. The European Union believes this was a politically motivated trial, which ended with a disproportionate sentence on a questionable charge.
The European Union also believes the proceedings against Mr. Marynich once again call into question Belarus' oft-stated desire to respect the fundamental principles of civil rights. It remains concerned that such convictions can serve only to further limit the development of Belarus-European Union relations.
The European Union therefore calls for the sentence to be reconsidered taking into account the nature of the charges against Mr. Marynich. The European Union will follow closely the appeal.
The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.